Craig Guy, the Democratic nominee for Hudson County executive, opened up about a 2019 drunk driving arrest after the dashboard camera footage and reports from the incident were released to fulfill an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
A police report from the incident says that Guy, who is still the chief of staff to outgoing County Executive Tom DeGise (the role he held in 2019), was pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike just before Exit 13A in Elizabeth at about 10:19 p.m. on October 31st, 2019.
He admitted to drinking two beers at the White Star restaurant/bar and New Jersey State Trooper Mark Colon says he was driving 80 mile per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone and was swerving. The trooper also expresses frustration when Guy says he has no ID on him.
“I was driving to my daughter’s house in Cherry Hill, where I had left my wallet, and I had left the White Star about 15 minutes before that. So I drove down, was on the Turnpike, just past Newark Turnpike and was pulled over,” Guy, 65, said in a phone interview.
“I won’t debate the speed, the swerving – I would have a different opinion about that. If you look at the video from that day, it was windy out, I don’t believe I was swerving. When he put the lights on for me to pull over, I pulled over at the closest, safest place on the Turnpike.”
The report says that Guy’s eyes were bloodshot and that the smell of alcohol emanated from the vehicle, therefore he was eventually asked to do the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests, which Colon determined he had failed.
On the drinking/driver operator questionnaire, Guy wrote that he had right hip and back pain that he gives him difficulty standing and walking, which can also be heard mentioning in the body camera video.
On the police report, Colon checked off that Guy was “unable to walk, falling, swaying, grasping for support” and “staggering.”
“I basically couldn’t walk and for years I was told it was my back. I was scheduled for surgery in March 2020, but it got pushed back until the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19,” Guy, a retired Jersey City police lieutenant, told HCV.
Two breathalyzer tests were performed at the NJSP’s Newark station and both read a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent – the legal limit is 0.08 percent in New Jersey.
He added that while the state police were nothing but professional, he thought he was innocent and that the situation was unfair.
“You have no credentials, you have no ID on you, what do you want me to do?” Colon said shortly after Guy was arrested.
“If I could give you, if the chief of police, of credentials,” Guy responded before being interrupted and asked to submit to a search, which he does.
“What I was trying to do is substantiate that I am a real person: I’m Craig Guy, I’m not Casper the Ghost, and I was asking them to call the Jersey City Police Department to prove that,” he asserted.
Guy remains steadfast that he didn’t do anything wrong besides go over the speed limit.
“My attorney presented to the court a litany of facts of my case, among which was listed was the fact I had a fractured hip and therefore did not perform well on the field sobriety tests and the expert report that came back and found numerous inconsistencies about the Alcotest machine – the machine was definitely taken out of service for repair,” Guy noted.
An Elizabeth Municipal Court Judge found Guy not guilty about two years later after Colon did not show up to testify, leaving the municipal prosecutor little to work with beyond the police report and body camera video footage.
Colon was not wearing a body camera at the time, which is expected since they were not made mandatory by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office until June 1st, 2021. The dashboard camera video is hard to hear at times due to passing cars and wind.
Guy also said that an eight-page report from Gilbert Snowden, of DWI Consultants, Inc. shows that the field sobriety and breath tests administered were “procedurally improper.”
Furthermore, the county official and candidate said the only courtesy he tried to ask for was related to the vehicle being impounded (his request was shot down in mid-sentence, with Colon indicating they were being recorded.
According to Guy, who is unopposed in the November 7th general election, he went to his first Alcoholic’s Anonymous meeting five months after the case concluded and he hasn’t had a drink since.
“I haven’t had a drink since March 3rd, 2021. When a person can understand their condition with alcoholism, that’s the significance of the date. There is no other rhyme or reason other then that’s when I finally understood that I had a problem,” Guy stated.
When asked if he still goes to White Star, he replied “sporadically” before being asked how he feels going to events at places like Liberty House, where he held his campaign kickoff, and other political functions that often have an open bar and/or drink specials.
“I take my sobriety serious, I look to do a lot of great things in both my personal life and governmental life … When you have the disease of alcoholism, you’re only one step away from a drink and that’s a result of the disease,” he said.
“I need to have a consciousness of that. It’s not like I’m going into a pre-school and talking to kids. I need to be aware of my surroundings … I want to let people know that you can change your life and there is help out there if you need it. And if somebody needs help, they can call me.”
He added that his long term goal is for his grandson Connor, who turns two years old in December, to never see him drink alcohol.